Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

by - July 21, 2018

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


Ash Princess is about a young queen robbed of her throne by an evil dictator. After years of brutal punishment and torture, the young queen-to-be decides to take a stand and sets out to save her people from enslavement, working alongside the falling resistance to claim back her throne. Yes, we've all heard about this story before and as someone that is a huge fan of court-based story lines, I tend to be a bit more critical when this genre is done wrong. I went into Ash Princess with a lot of skepticism because time after time, writers have created slow-running stories that don't pack any real punch. 

But as soon as the book started, I was hooked and trapped in the world of Astrea. I must applaud Laura for her introduction into this world. From the start, we witness exactly what the evil Kaiser is capable of, forcing Theodosia to perform a heart-breaking act of loyalty. I admit, after years of reading books that played around torture and punishment, I was happy to read one that held nothing back. Ash Princess is about a world that was taken over by an evil tyrant and to ensure we all understand what this means, Laura showed us the brutality of war. There has to be bloodshed, torture, rape and misery to make all of this believable. 

That being said, Ash Princess stands out for being unbelievably entertaining and brutal. Yes, as we read the plot and learn more about the characters, we realize that it resembles a lot of already used stories. But just the other day, a friend of mine mentioned that it's about what each individual writer does with that plot. How do they ensure the reader is compelled to read the next page? How does their characters differ from the rest?

Ash Princess happens to be one that breaks the pattern of silly queens-to be. Theodosia surprised me in many ways. Yes, she was naive at times and walked right into a love triangle, but despite that, she is strong and she knows that her country comes first. In other books, we usually have a heroine that goes through life blindly, letting us believe she will make a difference but usually ends up only doing something valuable towards the end of the book. But Theodosia was different. As soon as she decided to get her throne back, she got to work - formulating plans, sacrificing her security and manipulating everyone around her. I can't deny it was very compelling, though my eagerness to turn each page relied heavily on the violence, manipulation and misery of it all. 

Despite loving how fierce Theodosia was, my favourite part about Ash Princess would have to be the pace. The biggest problem I've ever had with court-based story lines was its pace - which is usually extremely slow. But like I said, as soon as Theodosia made up her mind, the story took off and I could barely keep up. Yes, her manipulations involved a lot of subtle conversations and secret getaways, but the author made sure I was never bored. Each conversation Theodosia had was vital for the plot, teaching us more about our main character and the company she keeps.

I wasn't a huge fan of the other main characters, mainly because I didn't find them very unique. Surprisingly, I was drawn towards characters like Artemisia, Elpis and Kaiserin. These characters had layers we could explore. It was their story lines that stayed with me long after I had finished the book.

“You’re a lamb in the lion’s den, child. You’re surviving. Isn’t that enough?” 

I didn't want to mention anything about the love triangle (sigh) but I guess I have to warn everyone that one does exist. I am not a love triangle fan, something I have mentioned before. In my opinion, the writer already knows who the main character will end up with so why prolong that? ANYWAY, that being said, the love triangle could drive some of you crazy but push through. Here I am, a love triangle hater and I still really enjoyed this book. What can I say? It was just a really good page turner!

If you're looking for yet another fantasy about a fallen princess, evil dictator, secret rebellion, intriguing magic and of course, romance, then Ash Princess will certainly keep you entertained. Its fast, action-packed and brutally entertaining. 

Warning: there are some graphic descriptions.

Book was sent to me by Pan MacMillan Publishers in-exchange for an honest review. 

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